07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Monday, May 22, 2017

Holy Mother's Day, Batman!

By Courtney Pierce

This year marked fifty-eight years of Mother’s Days for me. Fifty-seven of them have been celebrated for my mother, a central figure of my latest trilogy: The Executrix, Indigo Lake, and the final soon-to-be released installment, Indigo Legacy. Of course I don’t use her real name―and thankfully she is still with us―although she did give me permission to kill her off in the first ten pages. Mom laughed about it, knowing her spirit would hijack all three books. She looms over her three daughters as the unseen main character, guiding and controlling their every move through DNA. .

My mother. The woman who guided my life makes me want to give back to her ten-fold. I’ve always been a giver kind of gal, not one who receives easily. Mom loves a lily plant at Easter, gifts for no reason, and heartfelt cards on holidays . . . like Mother’s Day. Her garden releases a stream of trivia and wisdom as we pick vegetables. Mom still calls me at 5:05 a.m. on my birthday, the exact time I was born.

There is one thing, though, I’ve never presented to her: Mom always wanted a granddaughter. Instead, I gave her my independence.

But this year, May 14th held something new, a first in my life. The day heralded my very own Mother’s Day. Even before the June wedding, I have an eleven-year-old stepdaughter. How can I even put into prose what it feels like for this budding girl to crawl into bed with me, set her head on my chest, and wrap her arms around me. My throat tightens. I swallow hard in an attempt to keep my voice even as we talk about nothing. All those words I said to my own mother boomerang back to me ―like I know only now how much they were understood.

When I delivered my soon-to-be stepdaughter to school with a boatload of birthday cupcakes for her class, her friends hovered around me like an exotic animal on display at the zoo. Curious. Lots of warm smiles. Wonderment filled their eyes at what it would be like to have a new mother. (Apparently, I’d been the real-life subject of dinner talk in homes not my own. The fiancĂ©.) Can I tell you I felt more like Mary Poppins? What would they have done if I’d pulled a coat rack from purse?

My first Mother's Day present
Being introduced as “this is my new Stepmom” makes me whip my head around to see who she’s talking about. Then the wake of her words echoes in my head and taps me on the shoulder to say, “Yeah, you, dummy. She means you.” The realization fills me with trepidation for the enormous responsibility. So fragile is the psyche of a young girl, but she needs to know she’s not the boss. Discipline is necessary to turn a girl into a lady. The difference between being happy or alone for the rest of her life will be to think outside herself―beyond Music.lys, Instagram, and Selfies on her phone.

My husband-to-be has placed his trust in me to be an associate moral guide, to help him teach his daughter manners and refinement, parental respect, and to eat healthy. I will be his partner-in-love, with principled fiber to germinate her future independence. That’s a big deal. I don’t make light of what lies ahead. But as I always do with serious subjects, I dig to find the humor. Pre-pubescence shouts my new daughter's eminent transformation like a guttural war cry in Braveheart. Her bedroom floor is littered with sports bras that hold only padding. My missing lipstick is magically found in the back seat of the car, post-raid of my bathroom. And my favorite cotton top is marked by an empty hanger. Who could have predicted I’d be buying zit cream after decades of being zit-free.

The man of my dreams is thrilled to not have to deal with the embarrassing questions, ones that only seasoned, battle-worn women know the answers to. The relief in his expression is priceless when the bathroom door closes behind me.

“We’ll be out in a minute,” I say and stick out my tongue.

A faint chuckle decorates the air in the kitchen, punctuated by the pop of a cork. “Take your time,” he says. “I’ll pour you a glass of wine.”

Mother’s Day, 2017. The next day, May 15th, was my birthday. When the phone rang at 5:05 a.m., my Mom and I had a very different conversation.

Photo: Loma Smith
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her new family. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com

The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in summer, 2017.


Judith Ashley said...

The first of most things is special! Love the wrappings on your first (but not last) Mother's Day present. Did you purposely not share what it was?

Sarah Raplee said...

Congratulations on becoming a new mother! I'm happy to see you've fallen in love with your new little one, and she with you.

11-teen, going on twenty-one can be a difficult age, but you have the motivation and insight to help her through the difficult times. Remember when she acts out as a teen (and she almost certainly will) that it is most likely (99%) not because you are her stepmother, but because she is a teenager going trough a normal stage of development. Not taking it personally helps you to maintain perspective.

I bet your mother is delighted to have a new granddaughter. And kids can never have too many loving grandparents.

Courtney Pierce said...

My present was in the picture. She gave me that wooden box with the saying, "You're the Mom everyone wishes they had." Boy did I blubber over that!

And my own mother has fired up her "Amazon Add-to-Cart Finger" for maximum spoiling of her new granddaughter. Geeeeez...she never bought ME stuff. Now, my Mom calls me to ask if my daughter would like something that she ordered.

Paty Jager said...

That is wonderful news, Courtney! Congrats on the new motherhood and the up-coming marriage. Great post!

Sarah Raplee said...

Being a grandmother is an amazing experience. Your mom knows how to make the most of it!

Diana McCollum said...

Congratulations on your new family and your up coming wedding! I truly enjoyed your post!

manho valentine said...

My present was in the picture. She gave me that wooden box with the saying, "You're the Mom everyone wishes they had." Boy did I blubber over that!\